When We See a Need, We Respond
Access to affordable dental care is a challenge for low-income families everywhere, and especially so in rural areas and among culturally diverse communities. In fact, the Minnesota Department of Health reports that only 42% of children on Medical Assistance had a dental visit in 2018, while 81% of all Minnesota children 1-17 years of age saw a dentist that same year. The nonprofit Children’s Dental Service (CDS) has responded by building a network of more than 700 mobile dentistry sites across Minnesota. Most of its staff are members of minority populations themselves. The CDS team is able to speak with patients in more than 20 languages. The key to CDS’ success is its cultural competency and adaptable model of partnering with community service organizations. We’ve supported CDS since 2006 with a series of grants that now total $295,000. In 2019, the Medica Foundation awarded a $25,000 grant to help CDS establish ties with Duluth-area schools and community organizations that serve Native Americans, which then became mobile dental clinic sites for CDS. As a result, more than 700 Native American children received culturally appropriate preventive dental exams and restorative treatments at little or no cost.
When Disaster Strikes, We Step Up When heavy rains and rapid snowmelt triggered catastrophic floods throughout Nebraska in March 2019, we acted quickly to support our members, friends and neighbors. We worked with our business partners to ensure that members in flood-stricken areas could access their providers, prescriptions, and resources for emotional support. The Medica Foundation issued emergency grants to the American Red Cross and the Nebraska Farm Bureau to provide shelter, meals, comfort and recovery supplies in the hardest-hit areas.
43% of preschool-aged Native American children have untreated tooth decay
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts
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